The Types of Water Supply and Waste Water Disposal
Statistics say that out of 10 people in the world, 5 have running water supplied from the water supply line, 3 have water supply from improved water sources like protected springs or wells, and 4 have no access to any protected water sources which means their water supply comes from unprotected waterways such as rivers, lakes, streams, and canals.
Water is a basic need of man. One cannot survive without water. Civilization would fall. Economics will fail. Water is that essential. Everyone needs to conserve water and preserve this natural resource to ensure that the supply will not be depleted.
The domestic water supply that 54 % of households in the world today enjoy comes from either of the two basic water sources.
Basic Sources of Domestic Water
Potable or drinking water comes from either surface water or ground water. Large water supply systems mostly rely on surface water resources while smaller water systems use ground water. Surface water includes waterways such as rivers, lakes, streams. The water from such bodies of water is routed to dams or water reservoirs for filtration and purification and chlorination. The water that comes from water supply systems that process their water through filtration and chlorination are 100 % safe to drink.
Ground water is water from deep well. The well is dug and drilled to hit the aquifers. An aquifer is an underground level of water-bearing permeable rock (sand, gravel, silt or clay) where water can be extracted using a pump. Ground water is dependent on the condition of the aquifer. Water wells can be as shallow as 20 feet or as deep as a thousand feet. There are small private water systems that supply water to residences too. These water companies subject their water to a series of purification, chlorination and sometimes even fluoridation. However, there are households who have opted to dig their own crude well and pump up their own water supply. The water from private wells may not be safe to drink. In cases like these, it's best to have the water tested in a laboratory.
Another source of water is the sea through desalination. The treated water then goes into reservoirs either by gravity or by using pumps.
Portable Water Supply
Domestic water system has been around ever since man came to be. The way and manner that water has been transported to homes have changed a lot in the last few decades. Modern and updated indoor plumbing allowed you to enjoy water at a flick of a "tap" or at the click of your fingers.
How does water get into your home? In a typical town or community water system the water is pressurized and distributed to a network of buried pipes. These pipes run along the length of almost every street in the city. Smaller pipes connect from the main line to bring water from the distribution network to your house. In many communities, water is pressurized by pumping water into elevated storage tanks that are higher than the houses they supply water to. The water is then "pushed" into your taps by gravity. Households on private water supply use pumps to bring water up from their well, and then store water at an elevated pressurized tank.
In the UK, water is supplied by quite a few private water companies. A customer has the right to a continuous water supply. It is mandatory that the water provided is safe to drink, fluoride added where needed, and supplied at an accepted level of pressure. On the other hand, the water company can impose a temporary ban in watering plants and washing cars if there is a shortage of water.
Water and Waste Disposal
Where does your wastewater go? Again, in a typical community or town a water system goes hand in hand with a sewer system. Your home's wastepipes are connected to the main sewer line where it will be taken and treated in a wastewater treatment facility. The manholes that you see at specific intervals on the road are vertical pipes that serve as entry points for either the labyrinth of sewer pipes below the streets or the storm drainage.
Wastewater and other fecal and urine materials discharged from house sewer into the main are first treated before being discarded into the sea, a lake or river. The treated wastewater can also be reused for irrigation and landscaping.
In areas where there is no municipal or community sewer system, residences build their own septic tanks for wastewater disposal. The septic tank is so constructed that it has two chambers for the wastewater and fecal matter to decompose then leach to the soil below it. The location of the septic tank should be quite a distance from the water supply especially if it is ground water. The wastewater can seep into the soil near the well and that could very well compromise the quality of the well water.
The sewer line should be differentiated from the storm drain or drainage well system. Storm drain is for draining excess rain, and surface water from streets, sidewalks, parking lots and roofs. They are seen in street gutters but the excess water actually drains towards an underground canal. Access to storm drains is by manholes or gratings. Most homes connect their lots' surface water drainage to the main. In the UK, catch basin or gulley-pots are so designed under the gratings to act as "traps". These gulley-pots could actually prevent sewer gases from escaping.
Whatever domestic water supply you have, remember that water is essential.
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